Battersea Looks Back To The Future

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 128 months ago
Battersea Looks Back To The Future
Battersea Power Station

Since it finally shut up shop in 1983, Battersea Power Station has been reimagined by excitable developers as a theme park, circus, and luxury housing complex, whilst moonlighting as a cover star on iconic albums, surviving a hostile takeover by Cybermen, and finding time to host assorted gigs and contemporary art shows. The latest plan has just been unveiled, and it feels a little like history repeating itself: the site may be pressed back into service as part of an eco-friendly power station.

Irish-based developer Real Estate Opportunities, which bought the site off Hong Kong's Parkview International for £400 million in 2006, has unveiled details of a proposed £4bn development, made up of residential, retail and office space. The masterplan features a 300m high chimney and 'eco dome', designed by Walkie Talkie architect Rafael Viñoly, which will act as the central part of an Energy Centre. The complex will be powered by biofuels, with two of the existing chimneys used as flues for an energy-efficient generator in the station's basement.

A spokesperson for REO said the developer is "determined that Londoners will not be disappointed", a hostage to fortune if ever we heard one. Excuse our cynicism, but we've heard an awful lot about Battersea over the years, with little in the way of work to show for it.

As the new plan won't even be submitted as a formal application for a year, and won't be completed this side of 2020, what Ken Livingstone once called the "biggest disgrace in planning in the capital over the last 20 years" is unlikely to have a resolution anytime soon.

Good news, though - REO have pledged £150 million to keep the building in good nick over the next few years, buying the crumbling edifice a bit of time and allowing them to fix up the worst of the damage: it is currently listed as 'very bad' on English Heritage's Buildings At Risk register.

See a collection of images from the proposed development here

Image courtesy of edscoble's Flickrstream via the Londonist Flickr pool

Last Updated 20 June 2008